The Call

In the words of Marianne Williamson: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 08, 2008

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home is where the heart is? Where are our hearts this morning?

It is a cold and foggy morning in Winchester, Oregon. We came here in August to work for Hickory Farms over the holidays. We are over half way through that assignment and glad of it. It has had it's ups and downs. We have become friends with the store manager after a rocky start. We are already questioning our choice of location. We feel drawn to an area farther to the north ~ up Yoncalla way.

We went to an open house at the Applegate house yesterday and had a delightful time. Since we have both just read "Skookum", written by Shannon Applegate, and so much took place in that house, it was almost a spiritual experience to be there. The old house was decorated for Christmas and we stood around the table in the "men's side" singing Christmas carols. They laid out quite a spread of food for snacking and had warm cider and mulled wine. It was great spending time with Bob and Sue and we even met Shannon Applegate and Susan Applegate from the book.

Where do we want to settle down? Do we want to settle down? We seem to have the wunderlust, much like the Applegate men of old. We are in love with the history of this place. As we stood in front of the house looking off at the twinkling lights of Yoncalla, we talked of the spirit of the old home place. We have spent time in so many houses that we seem to be very sensitive to the spirit of a place and this one certainly has that in spades. We were privileged to be able to go upstairs with Bob. I would have loved to just sit awhile up there with the spirits that wander the hallways. If a house could talk, this one certainly would. Is our new home up in the valley around Yoncalla? Or perhaps up on one of the hills?

We are seekers. We spend a great deal of time pondering the where and why of our lives. We seem to be filled with questions. When I look back at years of journals, I find pages and pages of questions ~ many of the same questions repeated year after year. Are other people asking the same questions that we ask ourselves, especially now that so many are going through challenging times?

I am reminded of the quotes from our wedding vows. Vow ~ that is a powerful word when one looks back. We took a vow to "take the road less traveled by" and to "go to the woods and live deliberately". Perhaps we should listen to those vows once again. We have traveled the highways and bi-ways for many years now. We have slept in more beds that most folks every dream of sleeping in during a lifetime, except maybe a traveling salesman ~ are there still traveling salemen around? I think even most long haul truckers sleep in their trucks these days. The question of the day .....what is really important ~ today and every day? It is definately something worth thinking about and writing about. What is important to us .......where is our sense of belonging? What defines that in our lives?

I came across a wonderful article by Ardath Rodale yesterday. It appeared in Prevention in October of '05. It gave me pause to think about my life.... our lives and where we are right now. What road lies ahead?

Come, Little Leaves
As the seasons change, rejuvenate your spirit.

Come, little leaves, said the wind one day,
Come over the meadows with me and play;
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold. --George Cooper

Imagine a perfect autumn day! It is truly a magical time of year with trees dressed in their finest array of colors--gold, green, orange, red. There are so many things to be thankful for. The changing seasons help us to evaluate where we have been, what we want to remember, and how we plan to grow.

As I watch the dance of the falling leaves, I think of how short their lives are--perhaps 6 months. The sun is playing hide-and-seek with them, peeping in and out of billowing clouds in a bright blue sky. It's like life--sun and shadow, happiness and sadness, strength and weakness.

But right now as I walk around the farm, I throw back my head with happiness in my heart and, as I do every fall, I repeat the "Come, Little Leaves" poem that I had to memorize in second grade. I have many thoughts as I watch the leaves. To me, they are so much more interesting than when everything is just green. I like to think that all the spectacular colors represent the people of the world. We all have different wants and needs, opinions and cultures; but we all come from the same root of humanity: the trunk of the tree of life.

Then I ask myself, Do the leaves know how it feels to bid farewell to the warmth of the sun? Do they realize that as they fall, they mingle with the earth to nourish the tree that has been their mother? Their lives have a purpose, just as our lives do. Leo Buscaglia wrote a touching book for all ages about this subject called The Fall of Freddie the Leaf.

Autumn also is a time to prepare for an inward journey and give time to personal reflection. I like to think that, just as the leaves fall, our own regrets and sadness can fall away from our inner trees, which are really ourselves, and be swept away by the invigorating breeze of renewed hope. We can feel lighthearted and happy again as we move forward toward the new year to come.

Remember the dance of the beautiful falling leaves and the lessons they teach of uplifting the spirit so that you can paint a picture of their glory to hold in the center of your heart all year long.